I haven’t written about this yet because it’s taken me a while to decide how I feel about it. I […]
But I draw the line at hurting people who are genuinely doing their best.
The post tackled the very sensitive subject of mothers working while raising children. I don’t feel I gave the proper context around my opinions and beliefs and a close friend told me the post hurt her feelings. I spent a good deal of time thinking about it and talking it over with Heidi. In the end, I decided to take it down and give myself some time to think about how I wanted to approach this subject that I feel very strongly about.
Instead of tackling just the subject of working mothers, I’ll step back a little and start with a broader context: families. Because my opinion on mothers working stems from my feelings about the family.
Okay, down to brass tacks. Why do I think families are so important?
“You want to have how many kids?”
That’s the typical (and understandable) reaction I get from people when I tell them my wife and I would like to have 7 kids (or more, if we can). I admit, it is a lot of kids. And, with two kids now, I can’t fathom handling five more. Not to mention how expensive it is to raise kids.
Additionally, some people think the world is overcrowded and that bringing lots of kids into it is irresponsible. There are two problems with that:
- The purpose of the Earth is to give God’s children a place to go through the mortal experience. The statement above counteracts that purpose.
- The fact is, the Earth is not overcrowded. There are more than enough resources to go around, if they’re used and distributed efficiently. Did you know only 7% of the land in the US is developed?
And there are a number of reasons why we feel comfortable with having a big family.
“Are you going to stay home today?”
I start every day hearing that question from my sweet little guy, Bubbers. It’s usually one of the first things he says as I get him out of his crib. He says it with hope in his eyes and a cute, innocent look on his face.
And a little piece of me dreads hearing it every time.
Because for 5 out of 7 days of the week, I have to answer “Nope, I’m going to work today”. At first, he would politely ask me to stay home (“won’t you stay home with me today?”), which melted my heart but just made it worse.
Now he accepts (expects?) it and moves on pretty quickly.
In a way, I’m glad he still asks because it means he still wants me to stay home and he still has hope that I might say “yes”, one day. And sometimes I do say “yes” and take a day off. But not very often.
Which brings me to my dilemma. What’s the right balance between career and home? The extremes are obviously bad because staying at home all day would lead to homelessness while working all day and night would lead to absentee fatherhood-ism and, probably, divorce.
How do I figure out the right middle ground?